Interfering with nature |

Interfering with nature

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

We’ve all seen it, pillars of white snow jetting up from the ski slopes.

Breaking the silence with its low growl, it is quite the opposite of the natural, gentle snowfall. Man has always had a way of getting what he wants, and in the Colorado mountains, he wants snow.

Due to the impacts of global warming and the current drought, snow has become rarer and more valuable. Mother Nature is slowly weaning us from deep dumping of powder. How much should we interfere?

In order to cover a 200-square-foot piece of mountain with 6 inches of snow, it takes 75,000 gallons of water. Taking this water from low-lying areas has an enormous effect on the animal life and the ecosystem. Also, snowmaking uses air-powered guns, which by themselves account for a high percentage of power use.

Cost, however, is not a large factor in the decision about snowmaking. Due to the enormous revenue that snowmaking generates, the cost of making snow is trivial. Because of this income, the local ski industry is being kept alive. Without snowmaking, the season would start later.

In the end we have to make the tough decision of what is more important to us, preserving natural, eco-friendly ski conditions, or preseason skiing. Projections say that within 100 years, snow will be gone from the Roaring Fork Valley. Maybe snowmaking isn’t the solution to our problem.

Every weekend, thousands of people drive their polluting cars up to a man-made mountain. An endless cycle of destruction. When does skiing cease to be called skiing; when does the love of the mountains die?

Claire Noone

Colorado Rocky Mountain School